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Militants kill 9 soldiers in attack on Colombian military

AT LEAST nine soldiers have been killed in Colombia and another nine injured in an attack early today on a military post in a troubled region near the country’s border with Venezuela, authorities said.

The military gave no details of the assault in El Carmen in the state of Norte de Santander, but said a preliminary assessment indicated it may have been carried out by the National Liberation Army (ELN), the country’s last active guerilla group.

It would be the most serious attack by the guerillas since November when they resumed peace talks with the government and would complicate efforts by Colombia’s left-wing president Gustavo Petro to bring “total peace” to the nation of 50 million.

Mr Petro condemned the attack and said in a tweet that those who carried it out were “absolutely far from peace and the people.” 

The commander of Colombia’s military, Major General Helder Giraldo, said that the military would continue operations in the area against the ELN.

ELN attacks have scuttled peace talks in the past. In 2019, a car bombing claimed by ELN that killed 22 people at a police school in Bogota led the government of then-president Ivan Duque to suspend all dialogue.

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